Fun Direct Mail Facts

Tis the season for fun and laughter so this week, as we look forward to Christmas, we have decided to provide you with interesting (and possibly useless) facts about direct mail marketing.  We understand the value and power of direct mail, but some of these fun historical facts we didn’t know!  For example, did you know that…


  • Benjamin Franklin created the first American mail-order catalog in 1774 by offering a range of scientific and technical books through the post.


  • Aaron Montgomery Ward brought about the first modern catalog in 1872, which included only a single sheet of paper to display prices and a list of corresponding items.


  • In 1888, Richard Sears published his first catalog, which advertised watches and jewelry for “The R.W. Sears Watch Co.”.  Sears is still hugely popular today and still has great success with its mail order selection!


  • The coupon was invented in 1895 by a Philadelphian pharmacist named Asa Candler.  Asa was offering free Cokes in a local newspaper, and the trend caught on.


  • Thinking of buying a house? Between 1908 and 1940, Sears Roebuck and Company sold over 70,000 homes by mail order. They were shipped via railroad boxcars and included all materials needed to build a sturdy and well-designed house.  We can’t imagine making that kind of decision by post today.


  • Every Christmas, Neiman Marcus unveils a fantasy gift list in their annual Christmas catalog. Items available include a $1.44 million submarine and a $1 million 305-carat uncut diamond necklace… Submarine for Christmas anyone?


  • In 2007, direct mail accounted for 3.5 percent of total U.S. gross domestic product. About 10.6 million American jobs depend on direct mail.


  • California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois are the top five states that shop from catalogs.


So there you have it.  Some random facts that you can bust out at the work Christmas party this year.  We hope you have a great festive season, and please contact us by email or phone if you have any questions about direct mailers!